Encourage Productive Debate During Decision Making

Most decision-making sessions turn into fractious exchanges that stifle diverse, valuable viewpoints. That's because managers argue their positions with a passion that prevents them from weighing opposing views. To counter this tendency, encourage productive debate about the issue at hand.

How? Pose theoretical questions that stimulate fresh thinking. Phrase contradictory remarks in respectful language. For example, "Your arguments make good sense, but let me play devil's advocate for a moment." Require people with different interests to work together. And challenge people to assume the perspective of someone in a different role. For instance, a lower-level employee could view the issue at hand from a CEO's viewpoint.

Today's Management Tip of the Day was adapted from the HBR article, "What You Don't Know About Making Decisions," by David A. Garvin and Michael A. Roberto.

By washingtonpost.com Editors  |  August 27, 2008; 8:00 AM ET  | Category:  Management Tip of the Day
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